Practice Guide for Parents

Dear parents,

I get a lot of things land in my inbox that claim to he helpful for parents of piano students. I won’t bore you with all of them. However this week, this popped up from Teach Piano Today. I have to say it’s really useful and I can happily say I agree with all the points.

I know some of you work really effectively with your children. They are well prepared for their lesson, excited to show me their new skills and eager to move on. When they are not prepared they don’t enjoy their lessons as much, they creep out of their classroom with apologies and the atmosphere of the lesson is totally different. When this continues over a couple of weeks they get demotivated, they won’t make progress and they won’t enjoy piano.

During the lessons we work really hard, make good progress and have fun. Without effective practice at home, this is really difficult.

Perhaps you didn’t realise how important you are. Maybe you think because you can’t play the piano you can’t help your child. Well you definitely can. Take a look at this poster that gives some good advice for piano parents.

In particular these phrases jumped out at me

“Sit down with your child immediately after the piano lesson. Ask him/her to show you the teacher notes, demo the newest material, and tell you what was covered in the lesson.”

This is really important. The evening of the piano lesson is the best time to do the first practice of the week. Your child will still remember what we did in the lesson, how the songs sound and the rules of the games or actions. If you wait too long, they will have forgotten the detail. Of course with DoReMi Piano you can always pop along to the audio resources section of the site to listen to the songs if you can’t quite remember them.

“Establish a realistic and predictable practice time that can happen easily every single day… regardless of other family activities”

Everyone’s daily schedule is different so I can’t say when it’s best to practise. In my house, after breakfast but before school is our instrument practice time. Sometimes practising isn’t possible because we forgot to do something for school, or we’re just a bit behind. However, on those days we get a second chance after school. Some days we don’t manage it, but if we aim for every day, succeeding four or five times a week is still excellent.

“Give your undivided attention.”

Gosh, I’m not very good at this with my boys. My eldest is past the beginner stage now and can quite happily get on with his practice without my supervision. Although I still listen out, and jog his memory when he’s playing his favourite piece and neglecting the others! My youngest is not so self sufficient. He will go and bash out something he thinks is quite adequate, but really the teacher wants him to work on more than just banging the right keys in sort of the right time. I sit with him and almost give him a mini lesson as we work our way through the activities for the week and chat about whether he thinks he has made any improvements in relation to that week’s objectives. I’m so busy in the mornings getting everything ready for school that sometimes I just let him bash the keys. However, I know that each time he bashes, it’s not much better than not bothering to practise at all. Bad habits are harder to get rid of.

“Inform yourself of the basic skills you will need to help your child at home. By following along with your child as they learn, you too can gain the knowledge you may need to assist with practice”

Learn with your child. Get them to teach you! And email me if you have ANY questions about the homework, or whether you’re doing it right. I will always be happy to answer.

There are more ideas on the poster. Take a look, and welcome to the world of piano parenting!!

Parents’ Practice Guide

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